Sunday, February 24, 2013

Perú: American Couple Reportedly Missing Between Cuzco and Lima

Although details are very, very sketchy, Fox News is reporting that the US Department of State is now engaged in attempting to validate the apparent but not confirmed disappearance of an American couple from San Francisco, Jamie Neal and Garrett Hand, who were last seen boarding a bus in Cuzco, destined for the capital of Lima.

Reportedly, the couple was last seen from on January 26.

COMMENT: What many Americans do not realize is that when the US Department of State or even a US Embassy focuses on the alleged disappearance of a US citizen or a citizen who may have been a victim of foul play, that does not mean that embassy staff physically don backpacks and water-bottles and search for the missing Americans.

What "engaged" really means is the Department or a US Embassy or consulate immediately contacts host government officials that they may normally interact with on a regular basis. 

For an ambassador, that would mean the foreign minister of the country or higher, but for consular staff that in all likelihood would mean government officials that can mobilize police or military organizations to embark on a search on a national basis.

Unfortunately, the US Embassy in Lima disseminated a threat on its website and the Department's website on February 13, confirming a kidnapping threat against US citizens in Cuzco and Machu Picchu through the end of February 2013. 

It should also be mentioned that travelers and tourists all over the world operating in rural parts of countries don't communicate with family and friends for a variety of explainable reasons.

Thus, until there is a confirmation of a disappearance  or an incident of foul play being documented, being out of contact in dense terrain means only that, out-of-contact. 

It should also be underlined that those travelers who choose to travel in isolated regions where there is non-existent communication networks do so at their own volition.  

The report on the alleged disappearance of the US couple will be updated as new information becomes available.